When we look back on the games that we played in our youth, with a nostalgic tear forming in our eye, what was it that made them so endearing? Was it the playability? Was it the fact that despite the, by today’s standards, terrible graphics, the game cost us most of our pocket money, or paper-round wages, and we played it to the bitter end? Whatever the reasons were, you must admit that the games of yesteryear hold a very special place in our hearts and minds.
Returning to play those games on our modern day equipment is easy enough, through one of the many emulators that are currently available, but with emulation comes a shaded legal zone, alongside the problems that may arise from running a third party application within the modern Windows environment. What we need is a group of clever coders, retro radicals and devotee developers to re-create our classic favourites for Windows 10, so we can satisfy our nostalgia in glorious colours and inside our, somewhat, more expensive machines. Bring on the retro remakes.
Let’s start with that most classic of classics: Manic Miner. Released in 1983 by Matthew Smith, this infuriatingly good multi-8-bit machine platformer has gone down in history as being one of the most popular games ever, and there’s little wonder why. Collect the keys, and other flashing objects, whilst avoiding the poisonous pansies, spiders and manic mining robots, while at the same as navigating a crumbling and dangerous cavern.
There have been numerous ports and remakes of Manic Miner over the years, however, one of the best comes from the Classic Retro Games website (a place where, you’ll find, we tend to spend a lot of time at). Simply navigate to https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/platform/manic-miner-119, and download the zip file. Extract it, and dump it into a folder on your system. Within the folder, double-click the MM executable and enjoy this rather remarkable remake.
Head Over Heels
This isometric 8-bit classic was originally published by Ocean Software, way back in 1987 and was met with much acclaim and adoration, plus the fact that it’s frustratingly addictive and absorbing also helped to make it one of the most remembered games of its time.
Although the ZX Spectrum version was played out in a monochromatic world, this remake naturally displays the Head Over Heels world in full colour. It’s one of the most accurate remakes we’ve played, too. There’s the transporters, puzzles, unique abilities of the two main characters and even the same map layout – as far as we can tell. It’s an impressive piece of work, and it can be found at https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/adventure/head-over-heels-66.
For those of you who can recall when Atic Atac first appeared on our 8-bits will no doubt reminisce over the frantic running from room to room, the boomerang weapon that seemed to do everything other than hit the ghosts, and after thirty minutes of playing you will have completely forgotten what it was you were supposed to be collecting in the first place.
Perhaps that’s why it is such a favourite of ours? Anyway, download the installer from https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/action/atic-atac-550 and launch the game. As you’ll see, it’s a pretty good and accurate remake of the classic Ultimate Play The Game title.
This beautiful side scrolling game was originally released in 1987 by Irem for virtually every computer and console ever made. Despite R-Type being available on the likes of the Xbox and various Smartphones, the modern-day PC has felt slightly left out when it comes to this scrolling shooter.
This can easily be fixed by downloading the zipped file from https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/shooters/r-type-361. Extract the contents into a game folder and double click the ProtoType executable to play. For further configurations of the graphics and controls, open the Engine and Controls CFG files and play around with the settings.
Zaxxon was, for those of you who don’t know, a very odd isometric scrolling shooter from Sega. It was released in 1982 for arcade machines, but found its way onto virtually every 8 and 16-bit machine going. It was hugely successful, and was the first arcade game to ever be advertised on TV.
Admittedly, this is one game that we didn’t get very far on – either back in ’82, or with this remake. However, it’s still an impressive remake. If you’re up for a spot of isometric shooting, then go to https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/shooters/zaxxon-70 and see how high a score you can achieve.
Hands up how many remember the Barbarian poster when it was released in 1987, featuring Michael Van Wijk (aka Wolf, from Gladiators) and a scantily clad page three model, Maria Whittaker? That poster was reverently hung on many a teenage lad’s wall, and no doubt received its fair share of attention over the years.
Barbarian was an instant hit when released. If it wasn’t the accompanying poster, then it was down to the much-publicised violence – you can behead your opponent. Either way, with cunning mix of gameplay, visuals and violence, Barbarian was a winner.
To relive this golden oldie, download the 800KB zipped file from https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/fighting/barbarian-39. Drop the contents into a folder and double click the executable. It may not have the feel of the original, but it does have the goblin that kicks the disembodied head and drags the body away.
Here’s a blast from the past: Chuckie Egg. What a great game, and one of the first most of us ever played on our beloved 8-bit machines.
Released in 1983 by A&F Software, you played as Hen House Harry, whose job is to collect the eggs in each level, before the countdown reaches zero and while avoiding dangerous gaps in the environment, moving hens and the giant caged hen/duck/whatever that lived in the top corner of the screen.
Although this isn’t the best retro remake we’ve seen, it’s one of the few that works without too much hassle in Windows 10. There are other remakes out there, but a combination of using Compatibility mode to little success and altering config files makes these other versions a tad too unstable.
But, if you want to relive the fast-paced platform fury of Chuckie Egg, then head over to https://gamejolt.com/games/chuckie-egg/43858 and download the setup file.
Auf Wiedersehen Monty
The Monty Mole series of games did extremely well on the Spectrum, Amstrad, and Commodore 8-bits. Released in 1987 by Gremlin Graphics, this fourth Monty game of the collection sees our intrepid mole trying to collect enough cash to by an island and retire, which easier said than done.
This is another excellent and accurate remake, and one worth playing (both this version and the original if you’ve got it). Go to https://www.classic-retro-games.com/games/platform/auf-wiedersehen-monty-37, download the necessary files and enjoy.
To the purist, there’s nothing that can replace the original game. For some of us, we love both the originals and the remakes, so we’re interested in hearing what your favourite remake of a classic game is. Let us know in the comments below.